Nina Willner - Forty Autumns - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9781408707289
    • Publication date:04 Oct 2016
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    • ISBN:9780349141367
    • Publication date:18 Jan 2018

Forty Autumns

A family's story of courage and survival on both sides of the Berlin Wall

By Nina Willner

  • Paperback
  • £14.99

An incredible memoir about a family divided by the Berlin Wall that will appeal to readers of Stasiland and fans of The Lives of Others.

In Forty Autumns, Nina Willner recounts the history of three generations of her family - mothers, sisters, daughters and cousins - separated by forty years of Soviet rule, and reunited after the fall of the Berlin Wall.


Shortly after the end of the Second World War, as the Soviets took control of the eastern part of Germany, Hanna, a schoolteacher's daughter, escaped with nothing more than a small suitcase and the clothes on her back. As Hanna built a new life in the West, her relatives (her mother, father and eight siblings) remained in the East. The construction of the Berlin Wall severed all hope of any future reunion.
Hanna fell in love and moved to America. She made many attempts to establish contact with her family, but most were unsuccessful. Her father was under close observation; her mother, younger sister Heidi and the others struggled to adjust to life under a bizarre and brutal regime that kept its citizens cut off from the outside world.
A few years later, Hanna had a daughter - Nina - who grew up to become the first female US Army intelligence officer to lead sensitive intelligence collection operations in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War. At the same time, Heidi's daughter, Cordula, was training to become a member of the East German Olympic cycling team. Though separated by only a few miles, Nina and her relatives led entirely different lives.
Once the Berlin Wall came down, and the families were reunited, Nina Willner discovered an extraordinary story. In Forty Autumns she vividly brings to life many accounts of courage and survival, set against the backdrop of four decades that divided a nation and the world.

Biographical Notes

Nina Willner is a former US Army intelligence officer who served in Berlin during the Cold War. Following a career in intelligence, Nina worked in Moscow, Minsk and Prague promoting human rights, children's causes and the rule of law for the US Government, non-profit organizations and a variety of charities. She currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey. Forty Autumns is her first book.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781408707272
  • Publication date: 04 Oct 2016
  • Page count: 416
  • Imprint: Little, Brown
Willner's epic memoir traverses three generations of mothers, recounting the tragedy, estrangement, and overwhelming courage of a family torn apart by the ideological division of Germany during the Cold War. Willner, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, weaves familial legends of escape from farmsteads guarded by roving East German border patrols, with tales of international espionage at the 1958 World's Fair. Her interrogative and unabashed voice explores the painful intersection of national duty and familial responsibilities . . . Willner's depiction of the brutal East German regime and the fight of one family to unite is a thrilling and relevant read for historians and casual readers alike. — Publishers Weekly
Thoughtful and informative, Willner's book not only offers a personal view of the traumatic effects of German partition. It also celebrates the enduring resilience of the human spirit. A poignant and engrossing, occasionally harrowing, family memoir. — Kirkus Review
A fascinating and very readable book, suffused with family affection — Oldie
Constable

Between Stone and Sky

Whitney Brown
Authors:
Whitney Brown

Six years have come and gone since I first came face-to-face with a dry-stone wall, and nothing has been the same since. I daresay no one could have predicted what followed. Certainly I didn't have a clue what was coming.Whitney Brown was midway through her Master's thesis and on the verge of accepting a job as a curator at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington when a chance meeting with a Welsh dry-stone waller at a folklife festival changed the course of her life. Within weeks Whitney had left behind her secure world in the States and was living with him in rural Wales, learning the craft of dry-stone walling. What started simply as a working holiday led to the swift and utter decimation of all of her previous life plans. She fell irretrievably in love with Wales and for what she found there - for stone, for the act of physical creation (and accompanying physical exhaustion), for life in the countryside and days spent working in the sanctuary of a lonely hillside to repair structures older than the country of her birth, for the endless string of characters she met through her work, for windswept valleys and low hanging clouds and chilly nights by the wood stove, and for a man 33 years her senior, much to her dismay. She had no choice but to trust these things and see where they might lead her. It was, after all, the first time in her life she'd ever truly felt at peace. She felt like she had finally got a glimpse of what life was supposed to be.Notes from a Welsh Hillside mixes Whitney Brown's extraordinary and inspiring life story with reflections on tradition, adventure, on working with one's hands, living close to the land and, ultimately, about love in all its many forms. It is a love story to Wales and its fascinating jumble of historical, cultural and ecological layers. Most of all, it is a story about feminine empowerment, learning to ask difficult questions, to accept uncertainty and risk, to ignore the prescribed rules and maintaining a healthy sense of wonder along the way.

Hachette Books

Teammate

David Ross, Don Yaeger
Authors:
David Ross, Don Yaeger

Of the many storylines to the Chicago Cubs incredible 2016 season was the late career renaissance of David Ross, the 39-year-old journeyman player affectionately known to his Cubs teammates as "Grandpa Rossy." Ross became the unlikely heart and soul of the championship team, who finally broke the near 100-year Cubs curse. At the end of the Cubs victorious game seven--in which Ross entered the game in the 5th inning and proceeded to hit a crucial home run (becoming the oldest player to homer in World Series History), he was carried off the field by his teammates. Ross's late career blossoming and role as a Cubs mentor has been one of the defining sports stories of 2016, inspiring a write-in campaign for him for the All Star game, an endless series of feature stories and becoming the nightly talk of TV analysts and sports radio. This book would be memoir of Ross' career -- written with veteran collaborator Don Yaeger -- with the championship run at Wrigley this year as the capstone through line. The book's captivating frame is the final day of Ross's career - Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, with looks book at pivotal moments in Ross' life and career. Ross's fairy-tale season is a feel-good story that captures the hearts of Cubs die-hards and baseball fans everywhere.

Little, Brown

1983

Taylor Downing
Authors:
Taylor Downing

Da Capo Lifelong Books

Ninety Percent Mental

Bob Tewksbury, Scott Miller
Authors:
Bob Tewksbury, Scott Miller

Former Major League pitcher and mental skills coach for two of baseball's legendary franchises (the Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants) Bob Tewksbury takes fans inside the psychology of baseball.In Ninety Percent Mental, Bob Tewksbury shows readers a side of the game only he can provide, given his singular background as both a longtime MLB pitcher and a mental skills coach for two of the sport's most fabled franchises, the Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants. Fans watching the game on television or even at the stadium don't have access to the mind games a pitcher must play in order to get through an at-bat, an inning, a game. Tewksbury explores the fascinating psychology behind baseball, such as how players use techniques of imagery, self-awareness, and strategic thinking to maximize performance, and how a pitcher's strategy changes throughout a game. He also offers an in-depth look into some of baseball's most monumental moments and intimate anecdotes from a "who's who" of the game, including legendary players who Tewksbury played with and against (such as Mark McGwire, Craig Biggio, and Greg Maddux), game-changing managers and executives (Joe Torre, Bruce Bochy, Brian Sabean), and current star players (Jon Lester, Anthony Rizzo, Andrew Miller, Rich Hill).With Tewksbury's esoteric knowledge as a thinking-fan's player and his expertise as a "baseball whisperer", this entertaining book is perfect for any fan who wants to see the game in a way he or she has never seen it before. Ninety Percent Mental will deliver an unprecedented look at the mound games and mind games of Major League Baseball.

Sphere

Back in the Frame

Jools Walker
Authors:
Jools Walker
Constable

Skymeadow

Charlie Hart
Authors:
Charlie Hart

Skymeadow is the story of how Charlie Hart singlehandedly built a five-acre garden from scratch; it is a gardening memoir which celebrates the healing effects of nature on mental health. When Charlie first visited Peverels, a small farmhouse that sits lazily on the lip of a hill running down into the Peb Valley, he was at breaking point. He was grieving the death of his father and anxious about the impending death of his mother. He and his wife Sybilla felt that their London life had been steadily growing in noise: the noise of loss and grief, the noise of busyness, the noise that comes from the expectations of others and, for Charlie, the constant burr of dissatisfaction at work. At Peverels, Charlie found an expanse of virgin meadowland, the perfect setting for an audacious garden. A garden that is now known as Skymeadow and grows with a lusty, almost biblical vigour. Charlie felt an unquenchable urge to dig, to create something: gardening has taught him that you can dig for victory, but you can also dig for mental health. The days he spent wrestling with the soil in the rose garden, cutting turf and digging in compost and manure, were the days in which he mourned the loss of his parents. The rose garden is a tribute to them. Skymeadow describes how that garden continued to grow and Charlie with it.In Skymeadow, Charlie seamlessly weaves together his own memoir with that of his garden. The result is a story of mental health at an all-time low, the healing powers of digging and, ultimately, the hope and beauty of nature.

Constable

Lucky Man

Greg Lake
Authors:
Greg Lake
Constable

The Sheep Stell

Janet White
Authors:
Janet White

'Every animal needs its own territory and humans are no exception. My plans were clear at an early age. I intended to live somewhere wild and supremely beautiful . . . I imagined searching the whole world for a place, high and remote as a sheep stell, quiet as a monastery, challenging and virginal, untouched and unknown.'Over twenty years ago, well before the current trend for nature writing, Janet White wrote The Sheep Stell, a beautiful and evocative memoir about her life as a shepherdess.Throughout her life Janet has always tended sheep - first as a young woman in the Cheviot Hills, where she was treated with bewilderment by the other shepherds, before leaving Britain to live on an uninhabited island off the coast of New Zealand with a bonfire as her only means of communication with the mainland and only her flock of 200 sheep for company. After a brutal attack by an obsessed young man bent on her destruction, she was forced to leave her beloved island and return to England, where she married, became a smallholder in Sussex and finally bought a hill farm in Somerset where she still lives today. Her memoir tells the tale of a woman before her time, with incredible courage and determination, and wanting only peace and solitude in nature and a life with animals. Underpinning The Sheep Stell is Janet's devotion to the land and her total commitment to combining the principles of conservation with successful farming.Janet White is a trailblazer, both in her life and work. The Sheep Stell is testament to that and homage to the nature we're so rapidly losing touch with. It is a true celebration of the pastoral and pure escapism to a simpler life.'This is a strange and lovely book, and quiet as it is, it makes you gasp at the profoundly lived quality of the life it so modestly describes' Jenny Diski'A hymn to country solitude, lyrical, unpretentious and deeply felt' Colin Thubron

Constable

Not the Whole Story

Angela Huth
Authors:
Angela Huth

This short volume has turned out to be merely a handful of recollections of well-remembered times and stories - some probably misremembered, too - and a few people who have played a crucial part in my life. And some confessions: I have never before tried to write about my doll phobia, for instance, or about the effect synaesthesia has had over the years. I can only hope that this collection of stories from times past might give some idea of a mostly happy life that has gone, and is going, much too fast.At the age of five Angela Huth decided she would become a writer. Hers was an idiosyncratic childhood. Her parents were known to be a highly glamorous couple: Harold was a famous actor and film director who possessed legendary charm; Bridget was known for her lively sense of humour, fluency in foreign languages and her penchant for giving memorable parties. But in spite of her parents' initial happiness, they parted after the war. Eleven years later they got back together, happily, though each would have a lover for decades. After her education ended prematurely - Bridget didn't believe in university for women - Angela Huth went from reluctant debutante to professional writer, switching from journalism to short stories, novels, plays for television and the stage.Praise for Angela Huth:'A first-class writer' Sunday Telegraph'There is a very strong case for Huth replacing Jane Austen on the school syllabus' Sunday Times'Angela Huth knows her own range and writes within it; she is an excellent exponent of the traditional English social comedy . . . she is in perfect control' Daily Telegraph

Constable

Hunter of Stories

Eduardo Galeano
Authors:
Eduardo Galeano

Virago

On Smaller Dogs and Larger Life Questions

Kate Figes
Authors:
Kate Figes

Coming up to her sixtieth birthday, Kate Figes found herself turning to the larger questions of family, love and life's meaning. It is like this author to examine different stages in writing, and her books - from new motherhood and adolescence to coupledom and infidelity - testify to this way of understanding herself and others: so naturally she turned to writing to explore the challenges of becoming sixty. And then - a horrible, and sudden diagnosis of breast cancer which had metastasised.Instead of a gentle journey into middle age, Kate Figes began to write for her life. Now, clawing back confidence and control was not just the ordinary business of these years: it was the only way to try and survive great pain and emotional turmoil. As her writing became an honest reflection on ageing, failing, regrets and the importance of childhood memory, friends, family and love she found a new determination to live to the full and about finding ways to face up to a shortened life expectancy with dignity.Original, passionate, funny and moving, On Smaller Dogs and Larger Life Questions will resonate with anyone dealing with the many griefs and freedoms of midlife. It is about living with a life-threatening disease but it is even more: an intelligent and passionate look at the way we can approach disappointment and trouble, friendship and love - every day.

Constable

Rodigan

David Rodigan
Authors:
David Rodigan

'THE BOOK THAT EVERY REGGAE FAN SHOULD READ' John Masouri, Echoes'Rodigan can still claim a currency few presenters of his vintage can match. Perhaps it's because while his wider musical and professional milieu has been in constant change, his boundless enthusiasm has been constant. Reggae's been lucky to have him' Ian Harrison, MOJO'Rodigan was a major part of my childhood, he played the hottest tunes and in a style that just resonated with me and millions like me. Being able to contribute anything to a man that filled my life with such joy is an honour, respect, David Rodigan' Ian Wright'David is a pioneer in Reggae music. As a selector and radio personality, his vast knowledge of Jamaican music and its culture has helped to educate and fascinate music lovers around the world; he's an amazing son of the music, and an icon. We couldn't have made it this far without him' ShaggyThis is the unlikely story of David Rodigan: an Army sergeant's son from the English countryside who has become the man who has taught the world about Reggae. As the sound of Jamaica has morphed over five decades through a succession of different genres - from Ska and Rock Steady, to Dub, Roots and Dancehall - Rodigan has remained its constant champion, winning the respect of generation after generation of Reggae followers across the globe.Today, at the age of 63, he is a headline performer at almost all the UK's big music festivals, as well as events across the world. Young people revere him and he is a leading presenter on the BBC's youth network 1Xtra as well as a regular fixture at leading nightclubs such as London's Fabric and at student unions throughout the land. And he continues to go into the heartlands of Reggae, to the downtown dancehalls of Kingston and Montego Bay in Jamaica to compete in tournaments against the greatest sound systems. And yet, for all of this, David Rodigan is the antithesis of the stereotype of an international dance music DJ. 'I look like an accountant or a dentist,' he admitted to The Independent a decade ago. A man of impeccable manners, Rodigan prepares for a big sound clash by retiring to his hotel bed with a Thomas Hardy novel before taking a nap and then a cup of espresso before heading to the club. Rodigan is the inside story of this apparent paradox. It tells how a boy from Kidlington has become an admired international ambassador for a music form that remains as proud as ever of its African roots, a sound that emanates from and fiercely represents the ghetto poor. He now reaches across the age groups, from teens through to those of his own vintage. At the pinnacle of his career, Rodigan has become the DJ for all generations.'David Rodigan is a force of nature. His spirit and passion are a rare and wonderful thing. He has dedicated his life to carrying the torch for Reggae music and is hugely respected all over the world for his knowledge and talent as a broadcaster and a DJ. Long may he reign on our stages and on our airwaves' Annie Mac

Constable

Reading Allowed

Chris Paling
Authors:
Chris Paling

'Paling's deftly drawn vignettes are frequently funny, sometimes sad and occasionally troubling . . . Borrow a copy from your local library, if you still have one. Better yet, buy it' Neil Armstrong, Mail on Sunday'Not only was I captivated by Paling's lovingly wrought series of pen portraits, I was amused, moved and - perhaps most surprising of all - uplifted' John Preston, Daily Mail'There are many detractors who question whether libraries are still relevant in the digital age. Paling's keenly and kindly observed account of his encounters offers a gentle insight as to why they still are' Helen Davies, Sunday TimesChris works as a librarian in a small-town library in the south of England. This is the story of the library, its staff, and the fascinating group of people who use the library on a regular basis. We'll meet characters like the street-sleepers Brewer, Wolf and Spencer, who are always the first through the doors. The Mad Hatter, an elderly man who scurries around manically, searching for books. Sons of Anarchy Alan, a young Down's Syndrome man addicted to the American TV drama series. Startled Stewart, a gay man with a spray-on tan who pops in most days for a nice chat, sharking for good-looking foreign language students. And Trish, who is relentlessly cheerful and always dressed in pink - she has never married, but the marital status of everybody she meets is of huge interest to her.Some of the characters' stories are tragic, some are amusing, some are genuinely surreal, but together they will paint a bigger picture of the world we live in today, and of a library's hugely important place within it. Yes, of course, people come in to borrow books, but the library is also the equivalent of the village pump. It's one of the few places left where anyone, regardless of age or income or background, can wander in and find somebody to listen to their concerns, to share the time of day. Reading Allowed will provide us with a fascinating portrait of a place that we all value and cherish, but which few of us truly know very much about ...

Center Street

No Justice

Robbie Tolan, Lawrence Ross
Authors:
Robbie Tolan, Lawrence Ross
Robinson

Rescue Dogs and Their Second Lives

Angela Patmore
Authors:
Angela Patmore

Rescuing a dog can change not only the dog`s life but yours too. This book explains how. It also tells you everything you need to know about finding the right dog at a shelter near to you, and getting him or her used to you and their home. There is also appropriate advice on training and caring for your new friend. This book contains moving poems, true stories and appealing portraits of actual rescue dogs, who found new owners and loving homes.

Corsair

Notes on a Foreign Country

Suzy Hansen
Authors:
Suzy Hansen
Hachette Australia

Marching with the Devil

David Mason
Authors:
David Mason

'An unpretentious Aussie's experiences in one of the most ramshackle and soul-destroying military organisations on Earth.' COURIER-MAILA real-life boy's own adventure, MARCHING WITH THE DEVIL is a hell-raising account of five years in the infamous French Foreign Legion.'In 1894 a French Foreign Legion General said, "Legionnaires, vous etes faits pour mourir, je vous envoie la ou on meurt." Legionnaires, you are made for dying, I will send you where you can die. When I was in my mid-teens and first read those words they were powerful and confronting. I read them as a challenge and an invitation. The words, and the feelings they evoked, remained with me until I was ready. On 20 May 1988, I enlisted in the French Foreign Legion.'Searching for something he wasn't finding in his life in Australia, David Mason joined the French Foreign Legion. This is a frank account of how Mason came first in basic training, trained other Legionnaires, went to Africa, did sniper, commando and medic training and took part in two operations, both in the Republic of Djibouti where a civil war nearly crippled the nation. It tells of his daily life in the Legion, in the training regiment, in Africa and with the Legion's Parachute Regiment. But more than this: it reveals his disillusionment, frustration and disappointment with the much mythologised Legion, and how the Legion today is not what it seems - or could be. Now part of the HACHETTE MILITARY COLLECTION.'Remarkable' THE AGE

Virago

The Last Girl

Nadia Murad, Jenna Krajeski
Authors:
Nadia Murad, Jenna Krajeski

`Telling my story of first, surviving genocide and then, as a captive of ISIS is not easy, but people must know.' The remarkable and courageous story of Nadia Murad, a twenty-three-year-old Yazidi woman who is working with Amal Clooney to challenge the world to fight ISIS on behalf on her people. With a foreword by Amal ClooneyA Nobel Peace Prize nominee and the first Goodwill Ambassador the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations and winner of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, Nadia Murad is a courageous young woman who has endured unimaginable tragedy (losing eighteen members of her family) and degradation through sexual enslavement to ISIS. But she has fought back.This inspiring memoir takes us from her peaceful childhood in a remote village in Iraq through loss and brutality to safety in Germany. Courage and testimony can change the world: this is one of those books.

Constable

Bethlehem

Nicholas Blincoe
Authors:
Nicholas Blincoe

The town of Bethlehem carries so many layers of meaning--some ancient, some mythical, some religious--that it feels like an unreal city, even to the people who call it home. Today, the city is hemmed in by a wall and surrounded by forty-one Israeli settlements and hostile settlers and soldiers. The population is undergoing such enormous strains it is close to falling apart. Any town with an eleven-thousand-year history has to be robust, but Bethlehem may soon go the way of Salonica or Constantinople: the physical site might survive, but the long thread winding back to the ancient past will have snapped, and the city risks losing everything that makes it unique.Still, for many, Bethlehem remains the "little town" of the Christmas song. Nicholas Blincoe will tell the history of the famous little town, through the visceral experience of living there, taking readers through its stone streets and desert wadis, its monasteries, aqueducts and orchards, showing the city from every angle and era. Inevitably, a portrait of Bethlehem will shed light on one of the world's most intractable political problems. Bethlehem is a much-loved Palestinian city, a source of pride and wealth but also a beacon of co-existence in a region where hopelessness, poverty and violence has become the norm. Bethlehem could light the way to a better future, but if the city is lost then the chances of an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict will be lost with it.

Grand Central Publishing

Walking with Peety

Eric O'Grey
Authors:
Eric O'Grey

Eric was 150 pounds overweight, depressed, and sick. After a lifetime of failed diet attempts, and the onset of type 2 diabetes due to his weight, Eric went to a new doctor, who surprisingly prescribed a shelter dog. And that's when Eric met Peety: an overweight, middle-aged, and forgotten dog who, like Eric, had seen better days. The two adopted each other and began an incredible journey together, forming a bond of unconditional love that forever changed their lives. Over the next year, just by going on walks, playing together, and eating plant-based foods, Eric lost 150 pounds, and Peety lost 25. As a result, Eric reversed his diabetes, got off all medication, and became happy and healthy for the first time in his life-eventually reconnecting with and marrying his high school sweetheart. WALKING WITH PEETY is for anyone who is ready to make a change in his or her life, and for everyone who knows the joy, love, and hope that dogs can bring. This is more than a tale of mutual rescue. This is an epic story of friendship and strength.